Trumpeter Swans with ‘captive’ neck-collars in PA

Alex LamoreauxBird Sightings, distribution, Rarities1 Comment

Trumpeter Swans are rare but increasing in Pennsylvania, and more are found every year. Many of the swans found in PA have yellow neck-collars or yellow wing-tags from the Ontario reintroduction efforts. However, there has been an interesting rush of sightings of 3 different neck-collared Trumpeter Swans in PA since March 10th; all of which have stained, white neck-collars with 4-digit codes on them starting with Z6.

Trumpeter Swan Z639 was sighted in Adams and Cumberland Counties over the course of a few days, and then a pair of swans (Z603 and Z675) were discovered in Schuylkill County, and have even been observed copulating. According to the Bird Banding Lab, these swans are not in their database, and the bander using this pattern is now inactive, and the lab never received any data on these swans, and this collar color and pattern expired in 2002. According to swan banding protocol, this pattern of neck collar was used on ‘captive’ swans (Trumpeters, Tundras, and Mutes) in MD, PA, VA, and OH.

Where did these swans come from? A private collection?….it’s easy to find Trumpeters for sale online. Why are these just turning up suddenly in the past month when they were probably banded in 2002 or earlier? Does anyone know of any waterfowl collectors missing their swans?

Trumpeter Swan Z639 which has been spotted in Adams County and Cumberland County. (Photo by Dave Kerr)

Trumpeter Swan Z639 which has been spotted in Adams County and Cumberland County. (Photo by Dave Kerr)

Trumpeter Swan Z675 which is currently in Schuylkill County with Z603. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Trumpeter Swan Z675 which is currently in Schuylkill County with Z603. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Trumpeter Swan Z603 which is currently in Schuylkill County with Z675. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Trumpeter Swan Z603 which is currently in Schuylkill County with Z675. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

  • Matt

    You’ve gotta be kidding me! Before the ridiculous cold snap we had in Boston a couple months back there was a posting on one of the local birding groups of a swan with one of those around its neck. Complete mystery as to what it was; some thought a film canister (it had something like 30MM written on it), or a banding effort gone wrong. Thanks for this article, now I know